I had a thought last night as Spouse and I had yet another conversation about and with Big Man on homework, grades, accountability, and attitude…..I now get why people who’ve been married, and happily so, for a very long time, can completely derail when their kids are teenagers. This. Is. Really. Hard.
I realize I sound like I’m on replay right now, but I’m still shocked, almost daily, how difficult this parenting of teens is. I know Spouse and I keep looking at each other with kind of the same look we had when we brought our precious oldest child home from the hospital – the look of, “well, now what do we do?” I am shaking my head and gritting my teeth quite a bit. I thought I’d outgrown the yelling mom I used to be. Yeah, she’s back. I’m at an utter loss much of the time, and those frantic “When are you going to be home?” texts to Spouse have resurfaced.
We know we’re supposed to be on the same page. We’ve had a lot of conversations lately talking about what page that is, what our plan is. But then I’ll reach the end of my rope, and hand it off to him, but then I think what he does isn’t what I would have done, and we’re back to not being on the same page. Or he will get frustrated and hand it off to me, but then he won’t like how I handle it. I get where marriages can suffer stress. I think we’ve talked more in the past three months about BIG STUFF than we have in the last three years.
I’m pretty sure I wear that dazed new parent look a lot these days, and my kids are sixteen, fifteen, and twelve. Who are the aliens who’ve taken over my children? What in the heck am I doing? What in the heck are they thinking? Are we all going to survive?
We keep talking. I suppose that’s the key. We still try to make us a priority, even if it’s just in twenty-minute, sit-on-the-couch-after-they’ve-gone-to-bed increments. We talk to friends who have survived this season and come safely out the other side, with kids who have become really decent adults. We drink wine. We laugh at ourselves. We lay down expectations, and draw solid boundaries. We shake our heads, a lot. We yell some. There’s probably a lot of deep sighing. And we just hope we all emerge from this season, once again exiting a parenting fog.